Christmas is a magical time of year but it can be a nightmare for the environment, whether that’s from all the gifting, decorations or food waste. All of that stuff creates mountains of packaging, much of which sadly doesn’t end up being recycled. Did you know that in the UK alone, we use – and throw away – enough wrapping paper to circle the entire globe nine times?
At this point, you might be thinking, ‘but hang on EcoVibe, isn’t wrapping paper recyclable’? The problem is, most of it actually isn’t – with glitter, synthetic inks and plastic coating all ensuring it ends up in landfill, even if you think you’ve done the right thing by putting it in the recycling bin.
The good news is there are loads of ways to make your gifts look extra special while cutting down on waste and steering clear of plastic.
Invest in a reusable alternative
You might not associate fabric with gift wrapping, but it’s a genius – and affordable – way of using scrap materials and looks wonderful under the tree! Because cloth is so much more malleable than wrapping paper, it can be used to make even the most awkward shaped gifts look professionally wrapped.
Not only can your lucky recipient enjoy a beautifully wrapped gift, but they can then reuse the cloth to give a gift of their own. Since fabric is reusable for many years, this would have the most longevity – just make sure to explain the concept to the recipient and enjoy seeing your fabrics reused year after year with your families or groups of friends.
To replace disposable wrapping paper, you could try out furoshiki – a type of Japanese wrapping cloth. Check 1 Million Women’s how-to guide to get started.
Been saving all your odds and ends ‘just in case’ through the years? Us too! Now’s the time to put them to use. Tissue papers, wrapping paper, old boxes, ribbons and twine can all be reused and repurposed for your sustainable Christmas gift wrapping. They can cost a lot of money (as well as the Earth!) to buy new, so you may as well make the most of them. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box with this one either. Unused scarves, old maps and vintage cookie tins can all make gorgeous gift wrap too.
Chances are, you’ve got some old newspapers and magazines lying around the house too. Instead of chucking these into your recycling bin, why not give them a detour? A new life as gift wrap.
Biodegradable and plastic-free choices
If you’re just looking for a more eco version of your usual go-to minimal effort wrapping paper, don’t worry – we’ve got your back! Once you look beyond the plastic-coated rolls in your local supermarket, there’s a huge section of recycled and recyclable alternatives out there. All of our wrapping paper for instance is fully recyclable, with vegetable-based inks and totally plastic-free.
On the market for funky gift boxes? You might like our EcoVibe gift boxes. They’re made from 90% recycled materials, are fully plastic-free and printed with vegetal inks, as well as being totally recyclable.
Looking out for eco-friendly wrapping elsewhere? To dodge the plastic, make sure to avoid wrapping paper that that’s covered in glitter or foil details. Sadly, these options usually can’t be recycled because they’re made of mixed materials and can clog up the recycling machinery too.
Once Christmas has passed, be sure to either reuse or recycle any wrapping paper you can’t make use of. Top tip: you can check whether the wrapping paper is plastic coated or not by scrunching it. If it stays scrunched, it’s probably fine to recycle, but if it pops back, it’s covered in plastic.
It’s not just the paper that’s wasteful. Each year we use yards of plastic sticky tape which isn’t recyclable either. As an alternative, check out plastic-free kraft paper tape or simply seal together your pressies with ribbons and twine – as originally intended – without tape altogether.
For decorations, what about nature’s finest biodegradable alternatives? If you have your own ‘real’ tree this year, the easiest place to start is by taking clippings. You can also pop across to your local park or forest and forage for pinecones or dried twigs for a minimalist Nordic feel. (Just a quick note, please don’t take clippings from live plants on public property. While you might think it would only have a minimal impact, if every visitor did the same, there wouldn't be much to look at in due course!).
If you’re looking for a fragrance boost to boot, rosemary, dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks are fantastically festive, all naturally plastic-free and biodegradable.
Thanks for taking the time to read over our planet-friendly gift wrapping tips. Check out our full collection of eco-friendly Christmas gift wrap here.